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This is the first phone in Xiaomi’s new Play series

The Mi Play features a beautiful glass design and mid-range specs for the equivalent of $160. Will it be another winner for Xiaomi?

Published onDecember 24, 2018

The Xiaomi Mi Play.

While much of the Western world has shut down for holidays, Chinese OEMs are happily launching new devices. The latest is the Xiaomi Mi Play, the first phone in a brand-new youth-focused series from the Chinese giant.

Introduced today in China, the Xiaomi Mi Play frankly looks pretty generic. It features a waterdrop-shaped notch, a first for Xiaomi, but hardly a novelty in the market. Huawei, OnePlus, and Vivo have all launched devices with waterdrop notches in the past months, while the focus seems to have already moved to punch-hole cameras.

Notch aside, the Mi Play features a 5.84-inch Full HD+ (1080 x 2280 pixels) display with rather thick bezels that remind us of the Pocophone F1.

The back of the Xiaomi Mi Play is covered in highly reflective glass, complete with gradient colors, another widely adopted design trend of 2018. The phone is available in two gradient options – Dream Blue and Twilight Gold – which actually look really nice in the press renders we’ve seen. There’s a third “regular” black model for those who don’t care for the flashiness.

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The Xiaomi Mi Play comes with a MediaTek Helio P35 SoC. We don’t know a whole lot about this processor, as the Mi Play seems to be the first phone to use it; MediaTek just quietly introduced it on its website. It’s an octa-core design built on a 12-nm process, coupled with a PowerVR GE8320 GPU from Imagination Technologies. This looks like a mediocre processor meant for budget devices, so don’t expect amazing performance.

The rest of the specs match the middling SoC choice: there’s 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space, a 3,000mAh battery, a dual camera made up of a 12MP main shooter and a 2MP depth sensor, and a fingerprint sensor.

The Xiaomi Mi Play costs just 1,099 yuan, translating to roughly $160 or 11,100 rupees. That’s definitely not bad for the design and specs, but Xiaomi further sweetens the pill by giving Chinese buyers 10GB of free data/month for the next 12 months.

There is currently no news on the international availability of the Xiaomi Mi Play. It’s possible that the phone is made exclusively for the Chinese market, though we wouldn’t rule out a launch in India. Xiaomi currently dominates the Indian market with a strategy that relies on launching as many devices as possible, at just about every price point. The new Mi Play could sit between the Redmi 6 Pro and the Mi Max 2 in Xiaomi’s busy roster of Indian offerings.

Thoughts on the new Xiaomi Mi Play?

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